Today is Roxie’s fifth birthday. There was very little fanfare in the morning, I’m sure, because I spent the night in the city last night with Kate and wasn’t here today to remind Jim and the boys to give Roxie an extra special “Good morning!” Wait. “Little fanfare?” I feel confident that there was none. I am the only one who keeps track of things like the dog’s birthday. I’m sure their remorse will be palpable when they find out they forgot.

I can’t believe that she’s been with us for six weeks short of five years. They grow so fast! (sniff sniff) I was going to tell you the story of how Roxie became our family’s Chosen Dog in today’s post, but I’m exhausted from my 24-hour Chi-town visit with Kate and I’m doing some planning for our family trip coming up this weekend this afternoon, so I will, for now, just show you that I gave Roxie a makeover for her birthday.

Just look at the “Before”. Sad, right?

I bought her a black collar when she grew out of her first, itty bitty puppy collar because I personally think that beagles, being tri-colored already, look better in a black or a red collar. My other dog, the late, great Bijoux, wore a red collar and I was having a hard time putting one on Roxie, just because Bijoux wore one. But black, though slimming on humans, doesn’t do anything for beagles except coordinate with their fur. I was at Petsmart the other night to pick up some food for her and decided to look at collars. Other solid colors available in the plain old adjustable nylon collar? Purple (ICK), bright blue (CLASH), green (WHA?), pink (NOPE), and red. As I picked up the red one, I held it in my hands, thinking about it. As I turned my head to the side, my eyes stopped on the collar that Julesie and I used for the cover of my book. The red one, with the rhinestone heart. Signal from beyond heard loud and clear: no solid red collar would be purchased that day.

You will be surprised to read that I am also persnickety about dog collars with prints on beagles. (NO, really Melisa? Amazing.) Normally I don’t like them. I like collars with prints on solid-colored dogs, and solid collars on multi-colored dogs. Weird, I know. I own that. I found, however, the perfect compromise for my irritatingly OCD-like collar preferences. It’s a simple print, and it includes a shade of red that is not the cherry red I have preferred in the past.

And you know what? Roxie LOVED IT! (She told me so. Sort of.) She said nothing out loud, but her eyes said, “Wow! You have great taste! I am super-stylin’ now! I will look really, really great the next time I roll in bunny poo in the back yard! Thanks so much!”

Check it out:

And with that, I have to close this out and go get to work on planning a few things for our trip. Most of you have no idea where we’re going, but I have a hint for you. Here’s a needlessly too-long video I took for my kids the last time I went there:

Guess if you want, but I’m thinking that it’s one of those obvious things. ACTUALLY, why don’t you all guess where my family is NOT going this week? That might be more exciting, to see which places you all pick out. Have fun with it!